by Wolf Richter
It’s already in the works and goes far beyond subprime.
The auto industry is crucial to the US economy and jobs. Auto sales account for 21% of total retail sales so far this year. They’re up 4.5% year-over-year. New Vehicle sales in 2015 hit an all-time record, even as the rest of brick-and-mortar retail was weak.
The industry – including component makers and other suppliers – account for a good part of US manufacturing. Transporting over 17 million new vehicles a year from assembly plants or ports of entry to cities around the country is big business for struggling railroads. Transporting them from rail yards to dealer lots is big business for specialized trucking companies. They also haul millions of used vehicles every year to and from auctions where rental-car and leasing companies dispose of their vehicles. Many of the jobs across the industry pay well.